Journalism student Orlagh claims prestigious bursary

A Derry student has beaten off stiff competition to win the overall first prize in a prestigious Northern Ireland wide competition.

Orlagh Mullan is currently studying journalism at the North West Regional College and was told last week she had won the Paul Robinson Bursary. Orlagh has secured a two weeks placement with the BBC and will also be awarded £1,000 as a result of her success in the competition.

Derry student Orlagh Mullan who won the Paul Robinson bursary, pictured while filming at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Derry student Orlagh Mullan who won the Paul Robinson bursary, pictured while filming at Altnagelvin Hospital.

The bursary was open to individual students aged 16 or over who are in full-time further or higher education courses in journalism, media or television based courses in the North.

Each year applicants are invited to prepare a television, radio or online package or report about a particular theme. For this year’s bursary entries, entrants were invited to submit packages about the ways in which healthcare provision and attitudes to health have changed in Northern Ireland since the late 1940’s.

Orlagh, who is currently on a work placement with the “Derry Journal,” chose to make a video based on a story she had written for this paper.

“I’d spoken to a friend of mine who had donated stem cells which ultimately helped save a man’s life,” said Orlagh,

“I thought it would be interesting to make a video interviewing my friend, who is also a medical student, about what the experience had been like for him.”

Orlagh filmed on location in Altnagelvin Hospital and presented, recorded and edited the two minute package using skills she’d acquired as part of her course at the North West Regional College.

“I didn’t expect to win at all,” she claimed this week.

“I knew there would be a lot of people in for the competition and when I saw an email from the people in charge of it, I presumed it was to tell me that someone else had won. I couldn’t believe it. I’m delighted because it’s a great prize but for me the opportunity to spend time in the BBC will be fantastic. I know I’ll learn so much there.”

Orlagh has already appeared on air on BBC ‘Radio Foyle’ where she has taken part in the morning review of the newspapers. When it comes to her own career, the Pennyburn Court student said her primary interests lay in broadcasting production and sport.

“I really enjoyed making the package for the competition, but I think I’d prefer to be behind the camera!”

“I’m lucky because in our journalism course we get to cover a variety of things so it’s allowed me to see how I feel about working in front of the camera and behind the camera. I’m also getting a good feel for what it’s like to work in print journalism too with my placement at the ‘Derry Journal.’ I’m really looking forward to getting to spend time at the BBC and I’m still overwhelmed that my package was selected as the winner,” she added.